Times-News launches 2016 Rescue Fund

J. H. Osborne • Dec 1, 2016 at 2:00 PM

KINGSPORT — For many families across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, the Christmas season brings no relief from a daily concern: having enough food to get through the month, the week, or even the day.

The Times-News Rescue Fund, which aims to put a little extra food on the holiday tables of some of the region’s less fortunate families, begins today. Over the coming weeks, stories will chronicle many of their struggles.

Times-News City Editor Stephanie McClellan, who heads the Rescue Fund, said the effort’s main goal is to offer hope.

“Last year, we set a goal of $60,000 for the Times-News Rescue Fund, and thanks to our readers, we exceeded it,” she said Friday. “We know the need is greater this year, but we are confident we will reach our goal. Each year we are touched by the generosity of our readers who open their hearts and their wallets to help brighten Christmas for some of the region’s neediest families.

“While most of us turn our thoughts to enjoying the coming holidays, thousands of our neighbors in this region are doing without some of life’s basic necessities: adequate clothing, shelter and food. Over the next few weeks, the Times-News will tell you about some of these families in need. We hope these stories will be a link between those who help and those who need help.”

The Rescue Fund serves families in Lee, Wise and Scott counties in Virginia, and Sullivan and Hawkins counties in Tennessee.

But as with any program of this type, success is dependent on the caring and charity of those who contribute to help the less fortunate.

“Through the years we have found that in most cases, the families have been left in need because of some tragic misfortune — often illness,” McClellan said. “The Rescue Fund can’t change their circumstances directly, but it can provide some food, and more importantly, it shows that someone cares.”

All donations will be listed in the newspaper, although donors may choose to remain anonymous. Many who have donated to the Rescue Fund through the years have done so in memory of a loved one.

“We encourage you to read the Rescue Fund families’ stories,” McClellan said. “They will publish periodically on the front page between now and Christmas week. The stories are all that’s needed to show who you help through the Rescue Fund each holiday season. The Times-News is privileged to conduct the program. But it is our readers who make it possible, who bring a bit of holiday cheer to families desperately in need and who otherwise would have no hope of a happy holiday.”

Donations to the Rescue Fund are used to purchase the food, which will be packaged in boxes and distributed to the families by the Salvation Army of Kingsport.

That might not sound like a lot, but it makes a big difference to the food budgets for those who receive those boxes, McClellan said.

Rescue Fund families are screened by social services agencies in Lee, Scott and Wise counties in Virginia and by the Salvation Army in its service area of Sullivan and Hawkins counties in Tennessee.

Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Times-News Rescue Fund, 701 Lynn Garden Dr., Kingsport, TN, 37660.

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